$47 Energy Bill in South Carolina in the Summer!

Earlier this year Eco-Panels had the pleasure of working with Donald "Don" Cerra of Cerra Homes out of Aiken, South Carolina, part of the up-state region bordering on northern Georgia.  Don impressed us with his committment to "green" yet sensible home construction.  We recently had a chance to have a follow-up conversation with Don about his and his subcontractor's experiences working with Eco-Panels and our unique polyurethane core SIPs, the most advanced panelized building system on the market today.eco-panels on truck.jpg

"The home is being build to the DOE Challenge Home program.  DOE Challenge Homes are verified by a qualified third-party and are at least 40%-50% more energy efficient than a typical new home. Matt Ryan with ELM Energy Group out of Charlotte,NC handles all the enrollment testing and part of the paper work. I'm required to do some of the in the field paper work during the build process. I use a from of LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) integrated design concept to start the green build process. Simply stated I work with all my suppliers and parter vender to select the best dollar value for every component of the house. This helps me stay with-in my clients budget and get them the best house they can afford.  

With all that said the current project using ICF foundation for a conditioned crawlspace and 4.5" R26 rated Eco-Panels for the exterior walls and 2+ inched for closed cell (never open cell) spray foam over the ceiling and 10+" of TAP cellulose blown in over the foam giving the attic ceiling R-50 has a project annual operating cost of $600.00 per year. Just as an example Junes cooling and construction load with no insulation in the attic for the first 15 days was $47.00. This house is 2500 sq ft conditioned!  first panels going up.jpg

This was the first house in Aiken to use Eco-Panels and the support from the office to the onsite assembly was outstanding. My framing crew was very please with how fast and easy the panels went up. My electrician was amazed how well we had laid out the exterior wall electric boxes and conduit to the crawlspace. The drywaller was also pleased with the ease of installing the drywall to the Eco-Panels. 

You know I always get asked what make it green and there is no real one or two sentence answer. I will say this its is analmost finished home - aiken sc.jpg attitude more then anything else. If you are laze fair about the process you may build a house that is energy efficient on one have but not health and comfortable on the other. You may use sustainable materials but then order more then you need and trash them because most often these materials are special order. I try very hard to control material cost, just ask my framer. He has a cutoff pile that he picks from daily and no dumpster on site until the roof is sheathed. This avoids the temptation to just throw that 18" piece of 2x4 away. I'll find a use for it!  

The construction site is also has many possibilities for recycling  such as paper, plastic, aluminum cans, and cardboard. Hence the picture of the back of my SUV. don cerras recycling mini-van.jpgI made no less then 12 trips to the drop off station. All my crews know it is required of them and they do a good job of follow through. It is hard sometime though because they are not required on most other job site so they forget from time to time. An attitude of cooperation exists with each trade trying to set the stage for the next crew to preform it task unhindered. It's not perfect but if I don't try then I'm just another builder turning out an average home. I remember my dad telling a client one time that he was not going to get any better house then the one we were building across the street. My dad said every client gets the same professional job and quality the only difference are the materials. I'm not sure the guy liked the answer but that’s who and what I believe. The best I can do no matter the cost to Cerra Homes LLC.